"We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do. We must waste less. We must do more for ourselves and for each other. It is either that or continue merely to think and talk about changes that we are inviting catastrophe to make. The great obstacle is simply this: the conviction that we cannot change because we are dependant on what is wrong. But that is the addict's excuse, and we know that it will not do."
—Wendell Berry

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The summer flush

A little rain and everything will change overnight. We finally received about 20mm a few weeks ago and then another 25mm or so over the last few days. Suddenly everything begins growing at a furious rate. The dusty paddocks are quickly turning a lush green and the weeds in the veggie garden are fighting back with spirit.
The mint has come back from its winter raggedness beautifully. It loves hot damp weather and just looks so photogenic. We use it in yoghourt dipping sauces and raitas. We also make Senkenjabin from it. Senkenjabin is an ancient Persian cordial. It is superb to cool down with on a hot day after hard work. It is also excellent with Vodka, sort of like a Singapore sling, I call it a Topaz sling.
4 cups sugar
2.5 cups water
1 cup wine vinegar (good quality please)
1 large handful of fresh mint
Boil water and dissolve the sugar, add the vinegar and simmer for twenty minutes. Then remove from the heat and add the mint. Allow it to steep as it cools then strain and bottle. This is the cordial concentrate, to use dilute with cold water to taste and serve with ice. Also good with a large shot of vodka.  

 The bananas are loving the weather. Over winter the grey water pipe from the grease trap clogged solidly. Attempts to free it proved fruitless as it would promptly clog up again. On inspection I found the pipe had not been laid with enough fall and this was allowing sediment to settle in the pipe. So I was forced to dig a new trench with a greater fall. I laid it in a different direction that had more of a slope and delivered the water to the banana stand. Sort of like a reed bed system and the Bananas love it- lots of nutrient and wet feet. Banana heaven.
Consequently the bananas have responded by throwing bunches in all directions. I counted about eighteen bunches this morning. This variety is a type of "Lady finger" sugar banana. Intensely sweet and delicious, they are a fine eating fruit but will turn chalky if used for cooking. Down in the lower orchard area I have a small stand of Cavendish coming on to use in cooking. I like banana cake!
 This is a Banana flower. The centre is often used in Asian cooking and is very good. The little florets are the actual flowers and each will become one banana fruit when pollinated. The bees love banana flower.
 This alien looking fruit is a Buddha's Hand. It is a citrus closely related to lemons. It is almost completely rind with almost no actual flesh at all. It makes up for this by having the most intensely lemony scent of any citrus and is excellent as a citrus potpourri or else as a clove studded pomander.

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